Superstate in 1984 / WED 2-3-16 / Land partitioned in 1945 / Scaly wall-scaler / Female lead in Gattaca Kill Bill
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Constructor: Tom McCoy
Relative difficulty: Easiest Wednesday I've Ever Done
THEME: MIDDLE CLASS (31A: Bourgeoisie ... or a descripti0n of each group of circled letters?) / CENTERFIELD (42A: Baseball position ... or a description of each group of circled letters) — inside (in the "middle" of... or "center" of ...) theme answers are words that can be a university CLASS (or FIELD of study):
- TAKE CONTROL (17A: Seize the reins)
- UMA THURMAN (22A: Female lead in "Gattaca" and "Kill Bill")
- ALL ATINGLE (47A: In eager anticipation)
- DEATH EATERS (60A: Followers of Lord Voldemort)
Panem is a nation that was established during an unknown time period in a post-apocalyptic world. It is situated primarily in North America, and the Capitol is located in an area formerly known as the Rocky Mountains, as it states in the first book of The Hunger Games trilogy. // Panem was run by an authoritarian-totalitarian dictatorship that was led by President Snow before the second rebellion. It is portrayed in the trilogy to be the dominant society in North America, and no other nations or civilized societies beyond Panem have been mentioned, so it is unknown if any exist at all. Panem was later led by Commander Paylor after the war. // The name Panem derives from the Latin phrase panem et circenses, which literally translates into 'bread and circuses'. The phrase itself is used to describe entertainment used to distract public attention from more important matters. Furthermore, by the government providing ample food and entertainment, the citizens would give up their political rights. // In Panem, the law is harshly enforced: After the Dark Days, a sadistic annual event known as the Hunger Games was established as a warning reminder of the past. // According to the Capitol. Panem has a population of 4,556,778 people. Adding up the Capitol and 12 districts gives it a population of only 1,905,286 people. (The Hunger Games Wikia)
• • •
PANEM) and the Harry Potter answer DEATH EATERS. I can see how those two answers might lock a bunch of solvers right out (or slow them down considerably, at any rate) But I've read the HP books, and my friend Lena put PANEM in one of our Buzzfeed crosswords last year, causing me to object with "WTF is this?" and "I think you want PAN AM." But then she was like "you're old, it's a big Hunger Games deal" and I was like "it's 'bread' in Latin and that is all that I will concede," but then she got other (relatively) young people to back her up and thus PANEM went into our puzzle. No one complained, so far as I know. I do think that HG / HP trivia really stands out in this grid, as every other clue/answer feels like it belongs in a Newsday Monday grid—super common, right over the plate (even the pop culture = old standbys like Christine LAHTI and REESE Witherspoon and UMA THURMAN etc.).
The theme, which I never saw during the solve, seems fine. Never seen a double-revealer before. Feels like maybe you should've gone with the better one, taken out the other, and then cleaned up / perked up the fill. Also, those "fields" / "classes" are none of them really in the "middle" or "center" of their answers.
I fell asleep last night before I got a chance to blog this, so now it's morning and I'm writing with my coffee tank on Empty, so I need to go before I get incoherent. Moreso. Oh, my former student Libby Cudmore had her debut novel released yesterday, and she gave her first reading from the novel here in town, and signed a copy for me, and I'm all ATINGLE for her. It's called "The Big Rewind" and it's a quirky, funny murder mystery set in contemporary Brooklyn. The story centers on a mix tape, which provides both the clues and a kind of soundtrack for the book. It's very cool to see one of my star Crime Fiction students grow up to write crime fiction. Also, the book has a cool cover, which contemporary books rarely do.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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